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Hiring Ohio workers first
Written by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown   
Saturday, June 29, 2013 12:00 AM

BY U.S. Senator

Sherrod Brown


The United States is a nation of immigrants. From the transcontinental railroad to today’s technological advancements on the information superhighway, immigrants have helped to build our nation. The solution to the immigration challenges we face won’t be simple, but now is the time to take a commonsense approach to immigration reform. That means ensuring that the immigration bill is also a jobs bill — one that gives American workers a fair chance at fair wage jobs.

At recent roundtables in Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo, I’ve been asking Ohioans their immigration reform priorities. There is almost unanimous agreement that we must fix our broken immigration policy.

The bipartisan Senate plan finishes the job of securing our borders. It also creates a fair, but thorough pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants that require them. It also creates an employment verification system — to crack down on employers who are hiring workers without documentation — that prevents identity theft, and brings jobs out of the shadows.

But while the proposal we’re debating on the Senate floor is a critical step forward, I believe there are ways we can improve it further so our immigration policy is also a good jobs policy.

That means ensuring that American companies seek out skilled American workers before seeking visas for foreign workers.

Right now, the H-1B program serves an important, but specific purpose. When American employers cannot find the technical workers essential to their operations, businesses can recruit foreign workers through this visa. But we need to make sure foreign workers aren’t being hired at the expense of Americans.

That’s why Senator Grassley (R-IA) and I introduced a bipartisan bill called the H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2013. Our bill requires employers to make good faith efforts to hire Americans first and much of it was included in the immigration bill under Senate consideration.

Our work helped ensure that the immigration bill included a provision to require that employers to give American workers the first crack at a job opportunity before it can be filled with a visa holder. But during committee debate of the bill, our provision was altered so that employers now only have to take steps to recruit American workers they no longer have to give hiring preference to equally or better qualified American workers and can instead seek a visa for the foreign worker.

It is counterproductive to require employers to engage in additional recruiting steps designed to attract qualified U.S. workers without also requiring them to hire these workers if they apply.

If there are qualified Ohioans who can do the work, there is no need to fill a post with an H-1B worker. That’s why I’ve introduced an amendment to the immigration bill that will improve hiring practices of companies that temporarily hire foreign workers in specialty occupations.

Our bipartisan amendment requires H-1B employers to first offer a position to an equally or better qualified American worker before seeking a visa to offer it to a foreign worker.

H-1B workers make a valuable contribution to our nation, but they should be hired when there is a demonstrable need not at the expense of a qualified Ohio worker is are ready, willing, and able to do a job.

On the Othe Hand: ...With a side of fish flies
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Friday, June 28, 2013 11:58 PM

So I’m looking forward to a little less hectic weekend. Last weekend was busy, busy, busy. Fresh off an awesome Relay for Life, Ringo, my man and I headed to Leisure Park for a little Bark for Life action.

Ringo of course, was super excited. He loves, loves, loves other dogs. He just wants to meet them and play and run. Alpha is no where in his vocabulary. He’s a player, not a fighter, and he doesn’t care who does what as long as he gets to do something.

After a steamy lap around the park for the guys, we all piled back in the car and headed to Michigan for our friend Steve’s graduation party. After a lot of hard work and a lot of patience from his wife, Jill, Steve-o got his master’s degree. Whoot, whoot.

When we arrived, the first thing we noticed were the fish flies. We had some experience with these pesky critters a few years ago but not to the extent we were about to. They were everywhere! Just hangin’ off stuff and lookin’ creepy. Hundreds, maybe thousands. Ugh! Bugs! Why?

Fishflies hatch each summer from eggs buried in the mud. They are around for about 4-5 days and then gone. The insects mate, lay eggs and die within 24 hours. The cycle continues several time over.

You have no idea unless you’ve come across the fishfly frenzy personally. Steve kept telling us fishfly facts such as they like the color white (the color of our car).

We got Steve a bug zapper as a graduation gift and he promptly plugged her in and let her go. Zap, zap, zap. Zaaaaaaaaaap. Yeah!

We spent the evening celebrating, had a great time and even managed to laugh about the plague besieging us.

Steve teased us that all the fishflies on our car were going to hang on all the way back to Ohio screaming, “Jay! Nancy! Take us home to the canal!”

My husband and I took turns checking each other out to make sure we didn’t have any guests hanging on us.

When we settled in the camper for the evening, my husband cocooned himself in a quilt, saying, “No fishflies gonna get me!”

I chose a sheet because it was warm outside and inside the camper and we weren’t opening the flaps just in case the fishflies knew a way in.

About an hour or so after I fell asleep, I awoke with a start. I was covered in a white sheet! OMG! Fishflies like the color white! I carefully lifted my head to see if I was covered in fishflies. What would I do if I was?

Whew. No fishflies.

We didn’t see too many of our friends on Sunday but managed to still have a few on the car when we got home. She was washed and shined on Monday.

On Tuesday, I was scrubbing out the kitchen sink. When I lifted the mat, there was a fishfly! What the …? How the …?

Ugh! Bugs! Why?

Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation
Written by Sherrod Brown   
Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:21 AM




For too many Ohio children, summer break doesn’t just mean a break from homework; it also means a break from a dependable source of nutritious food. That’s because for more than 800,000 Ohio children, hunger isn’t something that happens in another country. Many of these children come from families that are food insecure—meaning they don’t always know when they’ll get their next meal. These children know how difficult it is to focus on learning while trying to ignore the pangs of an empty stomach.

Fertility rites
Written by Kathleen Parker   
Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:20 AM

WASHINGTON — Distilled to a slogan, politics of late goes something like this: “I’m more fertile than you are.”

It seems fecundity is emerging as the best argument for public office, policy or even citizenship. What was once an unconscious appraisal — Is this person strong, healthy and vital? — has morphed into the sort of explicit review one usually associates with an X rating.

While male politicians have always strutted their stuff as a demonstration of virility and strength, most women until recently have had no such comparable public measures. Managing a household wasn’t viewed as favorably as, say, the ability to pitch a ball over home plate.

Off with her breasts
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:17 AM | Updated ( Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:20 AM )

I’m sure many of you have read, seen or heard about Angelina Jolie having a double mastectomy when she found she carried the gene that made her 87 percent more likely (than someone who doesn’t) to get breast cancer and 50 percent more likely to get ovarian cancer.

In an article in time magazine, Jolie’s doctor said she has trimmed the frightening 87 percent down to just 5 percent with her bold proactive strike against a disease that has affected too many women and even men.

The 2009 Vanity Fair “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” revealed her decision in an op-ed in the New York Times. She explained her treatment decision: “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and minimize the risk as much as I could. … “I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear in people’s hearts.”